Tania Lacy - Funny Lady

Tania Lacy - Funny Lady
It is a typical Melbourne day, four seasons in one day and I meet with the incredibly talented Tania Lacy in Acland streets' Espresso Bar. Having run into Tania at a few different events where she has spoken on behalf of Marie Stopes International and been part of "Feel-good" seminars for women, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak candidly with her.

Having to constantly hold back the urge to roar with laughter at Tania's famous antics and characterisations, we settled into the "nitty-gritty" of the interview and chatted about her work, her life, her loves, why she'd like to invite Jesus to a dinner party and "Karma."

M: You are an incredibly active and motivated person, what inspires you Tania?

Tania Lacy: Hmmm, that's a good question.
I feel that I haven't really achieved the things I have really wanted to achieve in my career as yet. I am pretty disciplined, mainly because I was a Ballerina and that really crosses over in to your life when you stop dancing so I am inspired by... well I just have to create, I have to create otherwise I think I'd go crazy.

M: Do you recall what it was that gave you your big-break? A person, opportunity?

Tania Lacy: Well there are a couple of things when I was training to be a ballerina. I trained at the Australian College of the Arts and one day a freak accident occurred in class, an alcoholic teacher dropped me and I snapped the bottom of my leg.
So that was the first really big thing that happened. I had spent my whole life knowing that this was what I was going to do. After surgery and rehab I still had a limp. A year after the accident I went back to training and it just didn't work, my dream was gone. I was dreadfully depressed. So I went a did a positive thinking course and started thinking about what I could do, I started choreographing fashion parades and everything then I was dancing at ABC countdown. Molly Meldrum spotted me mucking around and asked me if I wanted to open the show. So of course I said "Sure", opened the show and then they asked me to audition for a new show called "The Factory"... So that's how I got my big break, but some say the biggest break I ever got was the accident.

M: What makes you so hilariously funny?

Tania Lacy: The fact that I am an incredibly depressed, cynical, (here we both burst into laughter) I have intense sense of justice that makes me incredibly angry... all those things make me funny.

M: Being a classically trained dancer, and having choreographed for Kylie Minogue as well as many international groups, do you still "get down" yourself?

Tania Lacy: I love going out and hitting the dance floor; I have to get it out of my system. The funny thing is of late, I have been dreaming. Every night I have dreamt I am a dancer again and apparently I am literally dancing in bed doing pirouettes and kicking my legs and my fiancé Ole is saying "what are you doing?" and I am replying "I'm dancing I'm dancing"...
This is happening literally every night! (Again we both burst into peals of laughter)

M: Perhaps something is still calling you?

Tania Lacy: I think there is and I think it may have something to do with the grant I got from the ABC for a movie ...it's about 2 girls who live out in the suburbs. This movie is set in Ringwood in an incredibly tough area and these Girls are going to be Jazz ballet dancers and singers. I think writing that every day has bought back that love for dance.

M: With the success of "All of me" and "Suburban Refugee" Any plans on the horizon for another one-woman show?

Tania Lacy: Yeah, I am doing next years comedy festival. I am considering myself as improving at the moment, I get invited to all these things, but I don't really want to be out there at the moment. I am "cocooning" concentrating on writing my movie and shows. Then hopefully I'll come out as a beautiful butterfly next year with everything in place.

M: Now in a past interview with Femail.com.au you mentioned Ellen Degeneres spied your tape and invited you to audition for her new sitcom. Have you been doing much work overseas?

Tania Lacy: When I was in LA, yes. I was quite well known because of the character "Titsiana Booberini", however that became traumatic situation because the director of that film... I created that original character before he came into my life and well, he will not recognise my writing input and the fact that I created the concept. So that became quite awful so my time in LA was torn with people knowing me for that role and also knowing of some of the awful things that happened.
Some people will do anything to be famous and I don't kind of have that need.
So I keep saying "Karma, karma, karma" and having lived there in Hollywood, well I just don't if Karma exists in Hollywood.
I adored performing there because people really got my humour. They dug me... America is really safe you know and here was this person out there saying whatever and they were saying "Oh My God, this is great" (Tania puts on the American accent perfectly)

M: Do you prefer working in Australia or Overseas?

Tania Lacy: I'd like it to be both - it's an interesting question because my ambition is to be a creator and star in the films that I write. And I have to say there seems to be some glass ceiling about women in films. Not so much in TV, we're seeing women break through that in TV, but you name me one woman in film who is creating films like Woody Allen, Mike Meyers you know like Jim Carey is, making their films, getting them out there and making a trillion dollars. There's some kind of "No that's not what women do in Hollywood" - and that's my ambition. I write because I want to be the creative force behind something that is a vehicle for me. I don't see why I can't, I mean just because I am a girl - big woop-de-doo!
You know I came back from LA and I was watching TV and I was thinking there is not one woman on TV who I identify with. I know so many women out there who are like us, ambitious, doing their own thing and there is no one on television representing that. I do not identify with one person on TV. And we're not that unusual, we have ambition and we have drive, but where is there anyone on TV representing our kind of person? Where are we being represented?

M: Hmmm Good point ...

M: Having seen your online resume, I am inspired by how much you have taken on and taken part in! What haven't you done that you would like to do?

Tania Lacy: I don't know. My ambition and my work have taken up so much of my life. Right now I truly am enjoying having a man in my life, I am getting married, so I am truly enjoying having a man in my life that I feel so close too. So that's probably one of the most major emotional steps I have taken and you know, he is wonderful, I just feel so lucky. That's been one of the biggest steps for me, being involved in a loving relationship is one of the things I would put at the very top of my resume.

M: When are you getting married?

Tania Lacy: February 9th

M: Now we also know you for your fabulous work as a spokesperson for Marie Stopes International, are there any other organisiations you'd like to work with or represent?

Tania Lacy: I do really believe in Women's causes, there are many causes I support. I feel so strongly about it and I hate even saying this and many women may not agree, but I think it's really hard for women in entertainment. I really do. Some women haven't had that trip, but I have. So I believe if I can just continue on with my dream and finally achieve what I want, there's hope.
And that day we went to that Feel-good seminar, JUST B U thing (Tania and I both attended a feel-good, believe in yourself seminar) I walked away from that with some gem tips, I walked away having listened to those girls going "I feel so inspired by those women." And that was such a great thing, there should be more of those seminars. I was not bored for a second and came back saying to my fiancé "I have forgotten to do that"...

M: Being a Spokesperson for MSIA, as well as your extensive career leads to many people looking up to you as a role-model, how does that make you feel?

Tania Lacy: That's really interesting. I purposefully kept out of the spotlight for a while I really felt the need to relax about myself. I live in this amazing block of flats and we have a shared back yard, so lots of people are always coming through and the things that people say to me amazes me. You know I haven't done that comedy stuff on TV for 10 years and people remember me and say how they remember things that I did that I don't even remember me doing. Sometimes they say things to me like "you shaped my youth" "you made me believe I could do anything I wanted too".
It astounds me, I am honoured and it makes me cry sometimes. It really is such an honour knowing that some people have watched me and said, "I am going to do that".
We're thinking of doing some best-of takes from the ABC. I can't believe the amount of recall I get. I don't know what to say about it, it makes me feel so nice and good.

M: While researching you on the net, I came across some fan sites dedicated to you. I was able to find info here that I otherwise may not have known. Of course whether or not this is all true is another story!
Now there is a guy who has every taped segment of you hosting and appearing on "Countdown revolution" How does that make you feel?

Tania Lacy: I'd love to know who he is so I can write him a thank you! If people wrote me really amazing letters I used to go and film them! I guess I feel a bit coy. It's such a flattering thing. When I went into Television I was naïve about what it was all about and how it was meant to be made, but I had an awesome groups of people behind me who were also quite naïve. But together we made this magic. Back then, we thought, "How do we make TV", so we all just did it. And we are all still friends and have BBQ's.
So I feel very flattered.

M: Is there any person in particular you would like to work with?

Tania Lacy: Strangely I would love to have met Lucille Ball. I would love to have met her. I don't know that we would have worked together as she was such a complete package of her own.
I have worked with many people, so I am wary of working with some people who's ego's are a stumbling block stopping us from truly connecting. But then I have worked with people who you just from such a close bond that I ask, "how could this person just never have been in my life before?"
There are so many people I respect here like Magda, I adore her. I see people all the time and think I'd like to work with that person.
The person I am working with at the moment who has become a mentor of mine is a guy called Steve Kearney. He had Hollywood deals, directed my show in LA, my show in LA was funny and he took it to hilarious.

M: And just out of curiosity, which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Tania Lacy: Paul Kelly - who is actually a friend of mine, he is such an inspiration and calming person in my life.

I'd love to invite Jesus to a dinner party. I'd just love to know the real full story. What he actually thought about himself. Did he actually think (at this point Tania goes into character and I can't stop laughing) "I am the profit, you must listen to me. I am the king." Or was he just a nice guy who said, "well look I've got a few ideas that might actually help people"

John Howard - I always look at John Howard and think despite all of this political stuff, there is something about him that makes him look like a very loveable family man. And I'd just like to talk about that. Irrespective of his views on politics, I'd like to just to see that side of him.
Hmmm who else?
Madonna (Tania says laughing) - I'd love to have her there.
And someone, who I am not going to mention their name, but just so I could ask "why". "When you had so much, why did have to screw me over?"

Now We put Tania through the paces in our Quick Quiz

Full name: Tania Jane Lacy
Nickname: I have never had a nickname
Star sign: Leo
Fave Food: Mangoes
Fave Film: In the last year or so, Virgin suicides
Fave Artist: Freda Carlo
Describe yourself in 3 words: Cuckoo Coo Bananas
Best Feature: My Eyebrows
Worst Feature: My Temper
Height: 5 foot 2 and a 1/2 (don't forget the half)
Your Ideal Man: strong, manly, leadership & loveable
Hobbies/Interests: I used to do needlepoint work, other than that gym
First Job: A ballet teacher
A talent you wish you had: I wish I could write songs and play the guitar so I could do an acoustic gig.
The best advice given to you: A writer writes.
What cartoon character best describes you? Betty Boo I have her tattooed on my arse.
If you had a minute to live, what would you do? Turn to someone and say "I love you"
What do you think of when I say "John Howard"? Come over for a dinner.
If you were to live on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you? This is funny because Ole and I were talking about this the other day. I would take a crystal set a camera and a pen.

- Michelle Palmer